I’ve been inspired by so many carers sharing details of their week that it prompted me to write this post. So here goes, one day in my real carer’s week.
I’m woken by mum calling for me through the baby monitor I’d set up, the alarm was set for 7am but mum was up early this morning at 6am in pain. I soothed her and tried to use the hoist to get mum out of bed but she’s terrified of it. I managed to get mum upright raising the bed and using a slide sheet. The hard bit is trying to get mum to stand on the steady – a stand aid for mum. I need to help lift her using my forearms and slide the seat underneath her whilst leaning over the bed. By doing that, I keep pulling tendons in my arms and I pull my back from the lifting and from pushing the steady weighing about 13 stone with my mum on it across the carpet to the commode.
Breakfast is interrupted by a delivery man coming to collect all the hospital equipment we used upstairs now mum has moved to the living room. They only sent one man so I helped him carry stuff and put even more strain on my arms without thinking. He took away a bed raiser, two commodes, patient turner and another steady. Upstairs is looking very bare now, I hadn’t realised the amount of space taken up by all that equipment.
Later, we had another appointment with the council to look at getting a disability grant. The lady brought a ton of forms, it was a nightmare form filling session for mum as she had pins and needles in her hands and couldn’t grasp the pen to sign the forms well, making her anxious and worried she was doing it wrong. So many signatures required.
Then, mum got upset when the council lady left and started asking to go home. I tried so many techniques to calm and reassure her but nothing worked. I even called my brother to call mum’s mobile and reassure her that he’d collect her later. Mum was adamant about leaving now rather than later, so I went with it and got the wheelchair out and after 30 minutes of coaxing her into the “pram” as she calls it, we were out the door (thank god no rain). Who knew pushing a wheelchair with an adult could be so difficult on uneven pavements and dropped kerbs that are not fully dropped so you can’t just push someone up the kerb. My arms were now killing me. The doctor said I have golfer’s elbow, all I know is that it hurts when pushing/pulling and the pain has migrated to my shoulder and neck!
Mum is much happier now we’re moving, walking very slowly as she’s worried about falling out. I take a few false turns, and then after 30mins of walking, I ask her the way home. She’s not sure so I suggest a quick trip to the doctors to pick up a prescription of meds that we’re going to run out of today.
We get there and they’re not ready so we have to come back at 4.30pm. Mum starts to direct me home, back to the same house we left, she gives me her keys to check it’s the right house and we’re in.
She is more settled but damn now a calendar reminder -I totally forgot about an incontinence delivery today, god I hope I haven’t missed them, they will only tell us what day they’ll deliver not the time or even if its am/pm.
I’m having real difficulty managing mum’s incontinence, we’re back to faecal incontinence this week and it’s horrible for mum as she gets embarrassed about it. For me, it’s difficult to fully clean her as it won’t stop. I use wipes (never flush them) and paper to try to clean her as best as I can.
The afternoon is brighter with mum teaching me how to sew in a new zip and minor repairs on dresses, and helping me fold a ton of laundry. Laundry can be tricky as it can act as a trigger for mum into wanting to go home but luckily not today.
The incontinence delivery finally comes and now I have a kitchen full of boxes – why do they have to deliver 4 months worth in one go? I’m grateful to get them, but 4 months, it’s not like I don’t have enough equipment in our house already. Our living room is now mum’s bedroom we have a hoist, steady, riser recliner, commode, hospital overbed table – just full of equipment. We have nowhere for visitors to sit as we only have one small sofa left – all the other furniture had to be removed and donated to charity.
I run back to the doctors for mum’s prescription but find they’ve completed the non-urgent ones, and now the pharmacist has gone home so have to come back tomorrow for them, not happy!
We settle in for the night, I cook a light supper with mum trying to help me and then every two hours toileting required for mum, so have to use the steady to get mum out of armchair to the commode and back again. By the end of the night, I can hardly stand up as my back is in so much pain. Mum is really sweet and offers me a massage but I say I’m fine and take a few pain killers to numb the pain.
Bedtime can be rough with mum anxious and fearful and it usually takes hours to coax her into bed. She gets upset about sleeping downstairs on her own and is worried that someone will come in and hurt her, after a lot of persuading I finally get mum into bed.
The final thing before bed is putting the rubbish out, the horrid thing is that the council have changed from bins to yellow bags for incontinence waste last week, so now no privacy in our cul de sac everyone will know by tomorrow that my mum’s using incontinence products and she would be mortified that they knew- no real dignity for mum. Hopefully, she’ll sleep through the night.
So that’s a normal day for me, from my carer’s perspective.